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September 25, 2006


Joshua Ballard

If we are living within a "now/not yet" eschatalogical framework, then is it fair to say that the complete fulfillment of the Old Testament JWT is the "Pacifist" Jesus?

I would definitely agree that Pacifism makes for a fantastic witness, and that there are times that we are commanded to accept the plunder of our goods for the sake of Jesus (see Hebrews) but I see the pacifist nature of Jesus' ministry as a economic (and even temporary) one, and not an eternally ontological one.

I don't think that it is fair to ignore or recategorize the "Day of the LORD" passages in the Old Testament as completely finished. It is with the return of Jesus in the book of Revelations (as well as many Old Testament prophetic works) that we see a violent end to the enemies of God.

Also, the difficulty in supporting a completely pacifist position where "love" (in quotes due to a possible misrepresentation of the term) is the highest ethic. The difficulty is found in the Holy Spirit (according to Jesus) inspired Psalms...we see plenty of Psalms that call for the violent destruction of David's (and God's) enemies.

We also see the characterisation of God as a Warrior, and the one who trains David's "hands for battle".

Poetic imagery aside, and whether or not God actually trained David's fingers to work a bow and arrow...the point is clear that it is in God's ability that David percieves that he fights.

With incorporating Old Testament observations into this discussion, we are faced with an inherent issue...As New Testament believers, we are not under the law of the Old Covenant...and I affirm this whole-heartedly, after all...we were not circumcised when we converted. But the law still stands as witness against those who do not believe into Christ, and are born again.

When soldiers came and asked John the Baptist what they should do, he replied..."Do not extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusation, and be content with your wages." (Luke 3:14)

Seems interesting when you consider that Jesus stated that of all of humanity, none were greater than John the Baptist, who was filled with the Spirit from the womb (Luke 1:15)...yet he did not condemn warfare in and of itself.

I wonder if we should either?

Marcus Henningsson

What comes to my mind reading these postings about warfare and Christianity is that warfare for us in the west is very different compared to Biblical times. We in the West will most probably never need to defend ourselves on our own soil. The western world lead by the U.S. is the absolute predominant military force on this planet. We are more often asked to come into a conflict with a peace troops to guarantee peace, e.g. Darfur and Lebanon. My question is if it is morally right for a Christian to participate in a peace force even if that might mean that you have to kill someone in the process of keeping fighting fractions apart? What I am saying with this posting is that we need to rethink what warfare and just war means in the 21st century. Can we say that we should only take up arms if our country is invaded and because of that argument disregard the thousands of people that will die in Darfur due to lack of stability and security? Non-violent protests works when you want to change the political climate in your own country but it doesn't work if you have been deported into the desert region of Darfur and your government is a bunch of criminals who rather see you dead than alive. There is times when we should take up arms and defend those that can't defend themselves.

Esmee Uulf

While this is a insightful artical in to pacifism, it did raise so questions for me:

1. This question has already been raised by Josh. What do you do with the passage in Luke 3:14? Here is man of God telling a man of war to be content in what he is doing.

2. You used the story of Peter cutting of the Priest's ear to highlight Jesus stance on violence. However when I read Jonh 18:11 Jesus does not seem to be speaking out aginst violence but against the use of violence to stop God's purpose.

3. Jesus, Himself used a form of violence when He saw the temple of God being misused in Jonh 2:13-17. Once again God's purpose seem to be the driving force behind this passage.

4. Finally the statment was made '[necessary war] setting up a tragedy whereby sin must be committed to prevent evil.' What then do we do with the book of Revelation, one of it's main themes being war. A war that God is heading up. How can God use this tool if it is a sin?

I am neiter saying that pacifism is right or wrong. What I am saying is I have a problem with the claim being made that 'Unlike the JWT or “necessary war”, pacifism is imbedded in the Christian life which is based on the Prince of Peace who ends all wars[12].' What is the base for this conclusion? Is it based on an over all understanding of the bible's message? Were the scripture used quoted correctly? Before I am persuaded the pacifism is the right course of action this question will have to be answer.


What a fantastic topic!
I have actually been contemplating this theme recently, as I have purchased and re-watched 3 DVD's over the past 4 months that have brought the issue up in my mind.
The 3 DVD's are Hotel Rwanda, Tears of the Sun (yes - a Bruce Willis movie with meaning!!!), and Ghandi.
All of the movies are extremely powerful, and although there are some very confronting issues raised, I would actually recommend watching all three if you can stomach it (especially for Hotel Rwanda and Tears of the Sun, which are quite graphic and confronting).
Immediately I am inclined towards the message of Ghandi, which, I believe, is a message that we as Christians should take very seriously. The civil disobedience that Ghandi and his followers demonstrated in the face of injustice is quite profound, and I can see some close similarities in the actions of Ghandi and the message of Christ (I know that's a scary thought for some).
However, I watch Hotel Rwanda and Tears of the Sun, and I have to ask the question of what about standing up against injustice committed against the helpless?
There is a profoundly impacting scene in Tears of the Sun where the American commando team, while removing a group of people out of a dangerous area, come accross a brutal massacre happening before them. They must ask the question of if they can stand by and watch it happen, or go in American-kick-butt-style and put and end to the massacre.
Hotel Rwanda asks the question of how can we possibly stand by and watch genocide unfold before us and not do a thing? Surely we must protests against atrocities of the like, but does this even mean military force to stop the carnage?
As I have already stated, my natural tendency is towards pacifism, and the fierce protection of life and opposition to anything that takes life. However I am torn with the question of what we should do in the face of life-taking. Can we as Christians support the work of agencies such as the UN in 'peace keeping,' even if it involves the eventual use of lethal force to protect some life by taking the life of others?
What is a Christian to do???

Craig Bennett

I think the question needs to be answered through cultural, pragmatic and biblical lenses.

It is easy for us in Australia to think of a pacifist Christianity as war on our shores is unthinkable....or is it?

While Scripture tells us to turn the other check personally, it does tell us to look out for other peoples best interests.
Does being a good neighbour mean that we allow harm to come to them by not intervening when they need help in a abusive situation, or could defending someone, even if it meant wounding or taking their life be a loving action?

I would say this topic needs to not only look at war, but also at more local level of security guard and police work. If someone working in this industry was to take a life or wound someone seriously through defending another ....can we say they have sinned.

On a more personal note, this is a topic of great concern for myself, as I am currently in dialog with the Army Reserves for the position of Chaplian. Does the AOG have a official position on this - either for or against.

Shane Clifton

Craig - the AoG used to have a formal position - which was pacifist. This stance has, however, been dropped from the movement's constition. Given this transition, it can safely be assumed that the AoG believes in the possibility of a just war - and would support you in a chaplaincy position

Luke P


You confess God commands these humans to make war on others, and these battles are somehow “God’s”. You then assert that “God despises human warfare”, but this statement doesn’t logically follow from anything you had previously said.

All the evidence you cite is much better evidence for the position that a God who commands ‘humans’ to engage in warfare, and a God who assists these humans to engage in that warfare, does not in fact despise ‘human warfare’ in and of itself. I don’t think it’s a matter of ‘insensitive reading’, your argument just makes little sense to me.

You assert “Even Christian proponents of war would agree that Christ was a pacifist”. I certainly don’t agree that Jesus Christ was a pacifist. Does a pacifist make a whip and forcefully using this whip drive people out of a place of worship? (John 2:15) Does a pacifist tell his disciples to arm themselves with swords? (Luke 22:36).

Is anyone willing to limber up and give us an exegetical gymnastics display on these verses?

Lets not confuse Godliness with being a big blouse.

Nicholas Mogensen


Thanks for your comments. Apologies, some statements were not fully backed up, a regrettable by-product of limited space.

In response:

1) Pacifism is not inaction. Look more carefully. I described it as the refusal to resort to violence to achieve a goal, however justified that goal may seem. Therefore, it is not a "blouse", but a courageous stance against the use of what some would call God ordained violence. In fact, it is so demanding that we need to find arguments against it.

2) Lk 22:36: Was Jesus calling the disciples to use the sword? How does this fit Matt 26:52, where Jesus lays down a general truth that those who draw the sword will perish by it? How about Matt 5:38-48? Did you observe Lk 22:38, which suggests, to me at least, that the disciples interpreted v. 36 as an endorsement of the sword too. Yet perhaps Jesus was suggesting something else and, not for the first time, they missed the point. Eph 5:10-20 also comes to mind. I leave this to your own, less gymnastic, exegesis.

3) Jn 2 - the whip. A good point, and one validly raised in earlier posts. However, did Jesus actually use his whip on people? My suggestion is obviously no. Were there not sheep and oxen there (2:14a)? Herd animals - He would have needed a whip! I still maintain that it is difficult to state Jesus is anything other than a pacifist upon careful examination of the full witness of the Word.

Forgive the length. A few more points:

a) Is war in the OT normative? Of course it has been argued that it is. But do we allow the complete annihilation of a race in a "just" war? Do we take up our weapons to slaughter those who have turned away from God? Is jihad a Christian option? The Crusaders seemed think so. Fact is, there are many things which we could "justify" by insensitive reading of the OT which are incompatible with the revelation of God on the Cross.

Theologically speaking, I think the overall picture from the OT is one in which God provided "peace on all sides" by His own mighty hand. Human force was unnecessary. Yes, He is the Lord of Hosts, and yes, Revelation speaks of a war(although exactly how this is understood is a debate in itself). God's wrath will be fully spent and sin punished. Does that then impute to Christians the right to judge and dispense "just punishment", even in defence?

b) Jesus is the full revelation of the Father, and is the same yesterday, today, forever. He exemplified pacifism, and His coming Kingdom is one of peace. This leads to the last point (whew!)

c) Christianity is a way of life, not a theory like "Just War". Pacifism is an integral part of the Christian whole along with aspects like loving relationship (something difficult to maintain when you are knocking someone’s block off) worship and prayer. Indeed, it is nourished by these others and gains strength in them, finding there the means to act radically, like Jesus did. In this way, it is embedded in the Christian life and, I believe, vital to one who is being transformed into the likeness of the Master.

Luke P

Hoorah! I got the reply! (the most abrasive people tend to get them don’t they? :)

Nicholas you raise some very interesting points which I hope to have a go at answering after the Greek test tomorrow.

Nicholas Mogensen

Response to the Luke 3:14 question:

Look at the context of the comment in Lk 7:28. Jesus is here comparing himself to John. The argument is that John was greater than a prophet (Matt 11:9) who heralded the eschaton that Jesus himself brought in. If Jesus is greater than a man who was greater than a prophet, then he is nothing less than the Messiah (who, BTW, failed to bring the military victory that everyone was expecting). And His followers are greater too, under the New Covenant.

Lk 3:14 itself deals with the fruit of repentance demanded in 3:8. The soldiers question was to directly about this. Remember the context. This was not a war force but an occupying force, honour guards and the presence of Rome in a volatile culture. Fighting over the region ceased long before. These soldiers were given a basic provision of food and a minimal wage. It was not uncommon for them to resort to fraudulent and violent means to extort money from the populace to supplement their means. John exhorts them to be content with their pay and thus avoid the temptation of extortion. John is actually telling them to desist from violence!!

Joshua Ballard

I do not disagree with your immediate contextual appreciation of the Soldiers' circumstances. I completely agree that John was commanding a cease-and-desist from certain TYPES of violence...However, I must disagree with your final conclusion.

I dare say that the occupying force does not just sit around and look intimidating (a threat of violence) for nothing...after all, who was it that executes the laws of the land? Is it not the soldiers who enforce the laws of the God ordained authorities?

A soldier cannot "desist from violence" do so is to become a deserter. An occupying force is present precisely to fight against rebel insurgents, such as the crazy sect of Violent Pharisees who went around trying to kill off Roman Sympathizers in Jerusalem, and you have others like the Maccabean rebels who tried to restore the Kingdom to Jerusalem.

Another aspect that must be taken into account is that if we accept violence as sinful, then we must claim that God in Jesus WILL be sinful (in relation to his violence) in the battle of Armageddon of Revelation (which is the fulfillment of the Military Victory that everyone was expecting)...

(whether physically or spiritually violent, it is irrelevant...the apocalyptic language implemented could only have been appropriately interpreted within a Christian anthropology/metaphysic as a "wholistic" or a "wholistically dualist" perspective, rather than a simply platonic perspective, that is...the spiritual is not divorced from the physical)

...or we must appreciate that violence is not in-and-of-itself a sinful action.

If violence is not in-and-of-itself a sinful action, to condemn war on the basis of its violent component is to build an argument on a faulty premise.

I confess that I am more of the "middle" option kind of person myself, but even then I have not committed myself to any particular position...I just haven't HAD to think about it much in my generation...such is the nature of warfare in the 21st century.

Craig Bennett

I am wondering if we need to reflect on Abraham and his story more to gain a Godly perspective on war?

Paul makes a case that we are all to have faith like Abraham, and we do read of times where Abraham went to war to rescue his nephew Lot.

Though we also should have the perspective should be that we are to be going about Gods will, the same as Joshua was told in Jos 5:13 by the Angel when Joshua asked him if he was for them or for their enemies.

Joshua Ballard

Gotta be careful when using Abraham as an example...Marrying your sister is out as far as the Levitical code is concerned, oh and lying about the marital status of your sister too...but I think that resucuing your kidnapped family is an acceptable time for warfare.

Stephen Wall

Hey Joshua,

Just checking, was the Levitical code even around back in Abraham's time... as far as I know, it went something like, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, 400 years slavery in Egypt, Moses and then the Levitical priesthood... that is a long time.

So you recon that you can go to war to "rescue your family" from kidnap? Whoa, welcome to Melbourne gangland... :) In today's society this kind of thinking would be disaterous. I don't think this is a good reason to go to war personally - can you explain your reason behind why you think it would be acceptable?

Joshua Ballard

Oh, I didn't say it would be "acceptable" I would simply do it.

But notice I am not affirming that we simply follow Abraham's life to the letter, I warned against it...we know that there are actions that are later condemned by God in the Levitical Code that Abraham wasn't condemned for. God had not yet revealed the law, so Abraham is off the hook as far as I understand it.

But we do have revelation, and so we are held to a slightly different standard that Abraham and Lot were. We don't marry our sisters. We don't lie about marital status.

So we can't just follow Abraham willy nilly...

Alternately of course, I am not an Ethnic or National Jew, so strictly-legally speaking...the Levitical Code does not apply to me. I am one of those "lawless" gentiles who must live by the Fruit of the Spirit.

But the question then becomes, whose life should be affirmed when I go rescue my daughter from a psychopath and his homies? Am I displaying love, faithfulness, goodness kindness and gentleness to my daughter if I leave her with them? Should I simply have "faith" that God will repay, and rescue her? Or should I act with faith?

If I look back to the example displayed by faithful's gonna be a massacre. With weapons. Big Ones.

Is this disasterous thinking in todays society? Yes it is. I won't deny that. The fact that someone would kidnap my daughter...that is also disasterous.

As far as fighting for the defenseless? Thats an easy one.

This doesn't help the case for violence much, as I am now probably thinking simply as an angry father, rather than as a "loving" Christian.

But independant of this example the case can still be made as far as Violence in and of itself not being necessarily sinful.

As a Christian, it may or may not be appropriate or necessary to engage in violent actions, but the distinction of sin is not in the violence itself. The sinfulness of the action would be determined by WHO is perpetrating the violence.

If it is God, sovereignly passing judgement on his subjects, violence is appropriate.

If it is Ivan Milat killing backpackers in the forest...violence is not appropriate.

Nicholas Mogensen


a great post. Good thinking. I will try to be breif because I am only meant to facilitate discussion.

Firstly, to argue that soldiers existed in the NT and did what soldiers do is not the same as arguing theologically from the NT. Furthermore, you are assuming Jesus was silent on pacifism, but he definately was not.

Secondly, forgive me if I ever implied that God can't do what he likes with all life, which after all belongs to him. The sin is that we ourselves take life, use violence etc. I think this is a violation of the Image of God in man. (cf Gen 9:6 as a starter)

Thirdly, your awesome point (along with Craigs great first post) that violence is a tool of the authority of the state. You guys are hitting on one of the routine objections to pacifism. It was a concern that underpinned Augustine's two cities, where this juristiction of the state was necessary. It was behind Thomas Aquinas' acceptance of the state being able to kill but the Christians themselves could only pray (go figure). It helped the Anabaptists develop a similar approach.

I am not convinced. Let me simply point out here that by accepting this premise you are not taking a middle ground but stepping into "Just War". Augustine was used to justify the Medieval Crusades, as was Thomas. Reformation theology that accepted the state's right to lethal force was behind the German church's initial conding of Hitler's treatment of the Jews.

The list of examples is huge and this post is getting too long. Question for you: If all were Christian, would pacifism be the norm?

Stephen Wall

Hey Josh,

Sure, Abraham is not the best example of a life lived to perfection - that we both agree on. His story was written with warts and all, to be an example of what to do and what not to do and to help us reach for something greater and lessen the silly things we do as humanity - hopefully. I agree we are not just to follow Father Ab willy nilly, but it was written as an example for us.

On the issue of God's Sovereignity and violence... I must say I have not come to any conclusion on this. I am still digging into these concepts so hope the below makes sense.

You stated: If it is God, sovereignly passing judgement on his subjects, violence is appropriate?

When does this become appropriate, and on what basis do we know it is God's judgement and not man's - ie: when an ex wife has been slandering her husband off in public to humiliate him, is violence ok on his part to act and stop the slander? - when do we as humanity take God's place of judgement to act in a violent manner. If God is sovereign as you state, can I ask what right we have to intervene, surely it is up to him to act not us?

If God is sovereign then should we not leave it to Him to act as He sees fit, is he not the judge of all, all powerful, supreme - will he not act as He should if He is sovereign as you say.

Surely our acts of violence in such matters, are a choice we make to intervene when we think that our sovereign God is unable or unwilling to act... so we take matters into our own hands. If so then, do we make that choice and act out of our own initiative, based on what we feel is just, right, fair, liberating, and the best.

I guess I am questioning what you mean by God's sovereignity and then you stating that violence by "human standard" is alright and not a sin in itself. (I placed "human standard" in there so you know how I decoded what you said in your post - that is the way I read what you said, forive me if I am wrong)

When we go to war over something, are we not taking that situation into our own hands... is not the very act that we go to war over, part of God's sovereign plan if everything happens according to His will?

If things do not happen according to God's plan and will then must we assumne that not everything that happens is in God's control? Does this mean he is ever taken by surprise? Um nope - he is the ultimate superpower. :)

Luke Fitzsimmons

Wandering momentarily away from the strictly biblical and stepping into the contextual, we need to take a look at the evolution of war to clarify pacifism.

In the OT era, war is seen as comprising of out and out violence. You arm up, roll out, conquer by force. Modern era, violence is still an element of war, but not the sum total.

Wars of the modern era can be waged in a purely political arena, replacing a head of state with one "more friendly" to another power, thus giving that power a foothold into a country that is not necessarily held by violence.

Wars in the current era can be waged in the businees arena, including elements such as trade embargo's, a modern equivalent to a large scale seige. Not directly violent, but on the long term can be crippling to a people or a country as a whole.

Also dangerous in the "Information Age" is war on a technological scale, where core systems can be compromised and fundamental services such as finance and government can be brought to their knees without a single shot fired.

To correctly justify pacifism, I think first you need to clarify the war you are against.

I am, myself, a Pentecostal Christian and don't condone violence in and of itself. This would, by earlier definitions in this discussion, consider me on the list tending toward the pacifist. On the contrary, were I to oppress and/or overcome another by means non-violent, be it by spoken or written word, financial pressure, or even compromising their credibility by revealing some hidden truth, could I still be seen as a pacifist?

It may not be violent, but in reality is still using war-based strategy against another.

Nicolas Legler

Pacifism is a good and honorable position to theory! It sounds good to say that we are against all forms of violence to solve the problems in the world. But is this view really realistic in the world we are living in? We must not forget that we don't live in Eden anymore and that our wold is in a fallen state. People follow their own agendas and pursue selfish ambitions, covetousness and the hunger for power drive people and nations into war. This is a fact and sadly will stay like this until the definitive coming of the Kingdom of God on earth.

Meanwhile, we are called to love God and as a result also to love our neighbour. Now, let's considerate what this love for the people around me involve. Is love just a nice feeling or does it make me act upon it? Love is a makes me take action towards my neighbour.

We have been made for community: first with God and secondly with the people around me. Our lives are all about building, protecting and restoring community with God and my neighbour.

What now if someone comes against this community and tries to destroy it? Will I just watch it happen or will I fight for it...? Will I engage in violent action to protect this God-reflecting community?

Let's think on a very practical level: My wife and my (soon to be born) child are the people nearest and dearest to me. Is it not my responsibility to protect them from harm? I can assure you, although I am a pretty peaceful person (!), that I would do anything to protect them...even if it would involve violent action against the aggressor.

As a community of believers we are called to reflect our Triune God in living out and nurturing relationships with each other. The protection of these relationships can sometimes involve the use of violence as an act of defence. I don't think that this contradicts the message of Jesus...who by the way never told the Roman soldiers he came in contact with to give up thier arms...!

Nicholas Mogensen


I brought the same criticism (it works in theory) against Dr Shane Clifton in class and was roundly rebuked, and rightly so. For we cannot argue "ought" from "is", and we do not approach an ideal by looking at the world to see if it is actually being met.

Thanks for raising the point though. What does pacifism actually require? It calls upon us to be prepared to make extremely hard decisions - ie: Do I not "defend" (ie resort to violence) myself, my country, my dear ones at the cost of my own life or theirs? Ouch. I baulk at this, and I'm maintaining pacifism!

Why do I not act violently despite the urgency of the situation? Well, have a look at Steves post, it might have some answers to that. Respecting the image of God in the attacker/percieved threatener, and loving them too, might be an answer. I think this answers Luke's post too, because by definition pacifism does not use evil to combat evil, war tactics to combat war tactics, violent or otherwise. Rather, it respects the value of the life in fellow man and seeks their good, not the advancement of ones own good. Admittedly at great cost to oneself.

And there is the crux of the matter - am I, are you, prepared to pay that cost? Hang on, 'just war' (and i agree with your take on the middle ground btw) suggests you don't have to. Attractive hey.

God calls us to an ideal - Jesus - which we constantly do not meet. Because we are told not to lie, yet everyone lies, does that mean lying is ok, even if only in some situations? Why then use the same argument against pacifism?

We do not meet the task. We live in the now, where the reality is sinful. But don't forget that as Christians we have the Spirit, and we connect to the "not yet". We have the power to overcome this sinful world, and indeed are commanded to do so!

Michael the Leveller

Are you familiar with the (fairly new) Pentecostal Charismatic Peace Fellowship which seeks to recover the (near universal) pacifism of the first generation of Pentecostals? PCPF started and is centered in the U.S., but has a few international members and would like to become global with national chapters (like Pax Christi is for Catholics). For more info. see .

Joshua Ballard

In the initial post, Pacifism was touted as the only moral way for a Christian, due to it's non-violence.

The opening quote...
"Total abstention from violence is the only moral option for born-again Christian"

Is simply false.

Violence is touted as immoral, and my argument is that violence is not inherently immoral.

Why is this?

Our God IS a violent God. One look at the promises and warnings of judgement (i.e. violent acts...the casting of body and soul into hell) that Jesus preached is evidence of this.

In both of the OT warfare examples cited (Joshua 10:40 and 1 Samuel 15:1-3) we see that God himself sovereignly commands the complete annihilation of a people group. We call this genocide in today's language. However the human agency of such action is ordered by God. Can God command someone to sin? The idea itself is lunacy, and is rejected by the Bible itself, i.e. God cannot be tempted and tempts no man.

To reject that God ordered the genocide of a people group is to bring into question the authority of scriptures, and I am not wanting to do this. Whether or not this passage is prescriptive for the modern Christian, or descriptive and useful in analogy only is a question of hermeneutics. cannot be rejected wholly out of hand.

Either way, these examples of warfare are NOT the norm. As has been illustrated earlier, these acts were restricted to the land of Canaan.

The question of war then, is not whether violence is moral or immoral, but whether or not this violence can be justified inside of a human framework. If it can, which has been demonstrated by the fact of God given governmental authority to "bear the sword", as well as God's decision to use Israel as His human agents of judgement on the inhabitants of the land of Canaan, then the question becomes HOW or under WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES this violence is acceptable or justifiable.

Violence therefore is not the immoral action. Neither is the attack on the "image of God".

Why is this? because you can guarantee that every single Canaanite human person bore the image of God, yet as far as the Biblical witness is concerned...God COMMANDED the wholesale slaughter of the people.

Coming back to Augustine, City of Man, Authority of the State and what the implications are...

What is war, but a police action between states? One state is not submitting itself to the statutes of another state, and is then brought under submission. For Hitler, his state moved to annihilate not only the Jews but any other person that would not genetically contribute to an ideal Aryan Ubermensch standard.

Were Nazi Germany's eugenics statutes moral?
Was it's Aryan Ubermensch standard moral?
These premises were the immoral foundations for the Nazi violence, and if the violence is found to be built on an immoral foundation, then we can condemn Hitler's war. Not simply because it was violent...but because it was unjustly or immorally violent.

You will ask me, "what then would make a just violence?" To this, I do not have an easy or immediate answer...but not having the answer does not give us the right to reject the question.

To say that Augustine was the justification for the Medieval Crusades is unfair towards Augustine. Augustine's writings may well have been abused, just as Aquinas' writings abused by the protestant state church in Germany in its condoning of the mass murder perpetrated by the Nazis.

You do not judge a worldview or a teaching by its abusers...we should know this by now...(otherwise we must reject Christianity as it is the justification for EVERY action by the Roman Catholic Church throughout history) judge a teaching or worldview on its own merits.

Early church pacifism was relatively easy to maintain...the Church was the oppressed minority, no questions of who to "pre-emptively" invade there. Now...we find the opposite problem...the "Christian" (or Christianised) west is the superpower in the world, and has responsibility to pursue justice.

What that justice is, is another question.

How to enforce that justice on those that would seek injustice is another difficult question.

But they are valid questions.

Seeking to avoid them by claiming "non-violent pacifism" is not the solution.

If you wish to hold to a pacifistic view of it on another foundation.

To claim that an action is immoral, when it is immoral.

Anna B Chandra

The ultimate good, Pacifism, sounds great, but is in my view not realistic. I cannot see how it can be applied in our world, although as Ballard said it makes for a fantastic witness. Albert Einstein once said, “The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking; and thus we are drifting towards unparalleled catastrophe… A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive.”[1] Many questions arise; Is war moral evil, the ultimate expression of human sinfulness? Or is war sometimes good, and peace sometimes a moral evil? Or is war always wrong, but sometimes the lesser of two evils?

The fact is that we live in a “now/not yet” eschatological framework. We live in a sinful world as our reality, but with the Holy Spirit we connect with the “not yet.” This is how we should live, but also realize the ultimate fulfillment at the end of times –Jesus the Prince of Peace.

[1] Albert Einstein, in a telegram asking prominent persons for funds of the Atomic Scientist´ Emergency Committee, cited in the New York Times, 25 May 1946

Blake Nuto

I struggle with the idea that pacifism is the only Christian way. Must we do nothing? As C.S Lewis asserts in his paper, "Why I'm not a pacifist", history is full of both useless and useful wars. In this work Lewis asks the question, would the world be better off if the west had only protested against Hitler and his regime? Would he have listened? Can we have such a notrious dictator use violent force as respond with a banner and a march?

If John Calvin taught us anything it is that life in a fallen world may not be fair. We are foolish to suggest that there will never be an ethical conflict in a world where evil will so clearly reign unless force is used to stop it. Surely Martin Luther King Jr., Jesus and the like did not resort to violence and still had an incredible impact on the world, however we cannot measure every ethical dilemma by these few. In there cases both of them paid the ultimate price of love, which was the loss of their own life and the Christian is called to imitate this agapeism. Yet can we say that if Australia was to be invaded by another nation, whose intent was to murder all who would not submit to their lust for power, that we were righteous in the eyes of God as we watched the murder of our families? This to me sounds like cowardice.

No resisting another with violence is not the Christian ideal, but it has often been necessary and will be in the future in order to stop the onslaught of evil against the innocent. In all situations we must chose agapeism, and often this will mean pacifism. But also the ultimate sacrifice of oneself is to protect the innocent, in a way that may be detestable to themselves. Yes disagreeable, unfortunately necessary.

Johan Olsson

In a perfect world we have peace and live in a perfect community with each other but as Genesis tells us the result of the fall is that evil came in to the world. It is a correct statement to say that we as Christians live eschatologically but it dosen't mean that we can ignore all the evil around us.

We have to ask us self if war is the greatest evil, when we argue as Stanley Grenz that Christianity is all about community?

During the second world war Nazi Germany had great success but on the D day America came in to Europe and played a big part for the European continent and the end of the war. We are today greatful for that, and it is impossible to argue that this step was completly wrong by the Americans.

Whit this example I will show that somethimes we need to use violence to stop a greater evil. To quote Siahyonkron Nyanseor;

"In Order For Evil To Triumph, Good People Do Nothing"

Peace is the ultimate but it is not always realistic in our world and sometimes we need to use war or violence to stop a greater evil.

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